Discussions surrounding social media often emphasise its ability to reach a worldwide audience with a single click, but it also harnesses a much more localised power.
Most social media services will channel some data about a user’s location (even if it’s an optional setting, location data is usually switched on by default); just consider that data can come from users providing details during some form of registration, from their IP address when posting, from Wi-Fi hotspots or cell phone tower triangulation, or from GPS tracking.
Social networks and third party tools can help you access and drill down the data to filter by geographic area, and consequently give you the footing to reach users in specific locations.
Marketing has an obvious use for such information, e.g. it facilitates targeted messages to be communicated in specified areas. One big advantage of location data from social networks is that it is often much more up-to-date than any direct mailing lists.
Customer service and crisis management are also very suited to this type of data. Rather than merely searching for mentions of your brand or business (possible with sentiment analysis to highlight complaints and queries), you can break down results by location. This can very quickly highlight particular areas where you have a significant problem, allowing you to quickly acknowledge and address the issue.
Location filtering is also a valuable tool for business expansion. A large volume of positive references of your brand in a location where you currently don’t have an outlet can be a great insight into viable markets.
You can explore geographic brand sentiment which can reveal varying tastes and attitudes to your brands and products in different places, sometimes even before you have the relevant hard sales figures.